Writers: Mark Russell, Steve Orlando, Scott Snyder, Greg Rucka and Tim Steeley / Artists: Ryan Benjamin, Tom Lyle, Greg Capullo, JH Williams III, and Javier Fernandez / DC Comics
To paraphrase Killmonger: When they said “Giant” they meant that shit. This comic was huge. I was annoyed by one story that I’m pretty sure is just a reprint of a “Court of Owls” issue. I got three pages in and very slowly started squinting like Fry, “I feel like I’ve been here before.” Then there was a Nightwing story with Raptor. “Ok, I know for a fact that I’ve been here before.” Turns out all but the first story are reprints. Today, I’d like to focus on the All Star of my favorite stories and the revelation I had. But first, a quick preview.
The first story is classic Batman adventure by Mark Russell called “Concrete Jungle.” I don’t know why I stay sleeping on Mark Russell, but the man’s a master storyteller. A criminal with incriminating information on a bunch of high-level mob bosses need to be protected and transported so he can testify. The is a job for the Gotham City Police Department! Kidding, of course. “Batman, handle!” The banter between Batman and Nightwing here was some of the most delightful. Also, after re-reading Tom King’s run that was very fond of beating the Bat to a pulp, it was nice to see the Batman of my childhood. Three steps ahead always. Harley Quinn is handled well, too. Russell balanced her crazy and psychiatric background well in just a few panels. Honestly, the entire book is worth buying just for this story.
Next up is a Steve Orlando story, “Puppets.” Nightwing must save the son of his parent’s killer from Scarface and the Ventriloquist. The real focus, though, is in Grayson’s head. Will he see the face of the source of his trauma when he sees him, or can he remove the burden of a father’s sins from the son? It’s a solid story but the runaway moment was an onomatopoeia. I read ‘Ka-Kick’ and laughed my ass off for a minute.
I’m not going to get into the “Court of Owls” or Batwoman reprints. The last story was a reprint of an issue during the “Nightwing” run when he teams up with Raptor. The end of that comic solidified an idea that’s been buzzing around my head for a while. When Batman questions decisions he’s made in his navigating a gray moral area, Nightwing calls his ass out. “You can’t believe anyone can walk the line between light and dark. Because you know that if you stepped over for even a second . . . you’d never come back.” This is everything. As a heroic symbol, Nightwing is ten times the hero Batman is because he can be morally flexible without being morally corrupt. I remember in the “Death of the Family” when Joker attacks Nightwing’s friends in Blὓdhaven he pauses and gets it. Oh, this dude needs to die. Batman Giant #4 is delightfully Nightwing-heavy so if he’s a favorite of yours, pick it up.
8 “Ka-Kicks” out of 10
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